Escaped rape suspect commits suicide after a three-day manhunt

An Ohio rape suspect who overpowered a guard and fled in a transport van on Friday has killed himself after a three-day standoff, police confirm.

Fox 8 reports that according to Paulding County authorities, 32-year-old Brandon Lee Powell shot himself while hiding in a crawl space in his parents basement near Antwerp. The incident occurred at around 9:30 p.m. on Monday evening, while officers were trying to convince the suspect to turn himself in.

According to Jason Landers of Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, authorities spent a little over three hours trying to persuade Powell to give up before he shot himself.

“However, Powell did not comply with those efforts. Branden Lee Powell chose to take his own life by gunshot at approximately 9:30 pm. While this is not the outcome law enforcement had hoped for, law enforcement hopes the community can rest knowing this armed and dangerous individual is no longer a danger to the community.”

Powell was arrested on July 8, on charges of first-degree rape, attempted rape, and sexual battery.. While in jail, he cut his throat with a razor and was taken to Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo for treatment. On Friday, on his way back to jail, Powell moved over a row of seats in a police transport van and while shackled and handcuffed, managed to put the deputy driving the van, Robert Miller, into a headlock.

Miller crashed the van while struggling with Powell. The suspect then grabbed the deputy’s gun and handcuff key. After unlocking his handcuffs, Powell cuffed Miller to a tree and fled in the transport van with a .40-caliber pistol and ammunition.

The deputy quickly freed himself and called for backup. A fugitive task force assisted in tracing Powell to his parent’s home.

Meanwhile, Landers promised the public he would do his best to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“I’m angry with myself. I take accountability for my office and the actions of my office. There’s a couple of things that I know could have prevented this issue from happening that are changes that we’ll put in place immediately, administratively.”

[Feature Photo: Handout]